ames Tweed Family,
BY BENJ. WALKER
READ AT A
FOSTER'S POND, ANDOVER, MASS , JUNE 17, 1887.
COURIER PRESS : MARDEN & ROWELL.
i % % 7
Sally (Gibson) Tweed,
May 19, 1771.
May 29, 1775.
Dec. 2, 1850.
Dec. 19, 1861,
Sally (Tweed) Buck,
Nancy (Tweed) Harnden,
Abigail (Tweed) Walker,
Timothy Gibson Tweed,
Mary (Tweed) Jones,
Jan. 13, 1798.
Aug. 27, 1800.
May 27, 1802.
Feb. 21, 1804.
Apr. 7, 1806.
Nov. 21, 1808.
Jan. 10, 1811.
March 21, 1813,
July 23, 1817.
Sept. 10, 1884.
July 14, 1881.
Apr. 2, 1885.
March 28, 1855.
June 8, 1879.
Jan. 26, 1863.
Dec. 25, 1858,
Digitized by the Internet Archive
REMINISCENCES OF THE TWEED FAMILY,
New England family reunions have assumed, of late, a
character of much interest and importance. Serving, as
they do, to renew friendships and more firmly cement the
ties of kindred, especially when families are widely scat-
tered and have been long separated, they gratify a desire
which almost every person possessed of natural instincts
must entertain, to participate, if possible, in some gath-
ering wherein he may once more meet and mingle with
his own immediate "kith and kin." Acting upon this idea,
and with the conviction that family gatherings have become,
at least, a religious duty, if not an absolute necessity, a
few descendants of James Tweed, formerly a well-known
and highly respected citizen of Wilmington, Mass., decided
to make an effort for the purpose of bringing the family
together. To that end the following circular of invitation
was issued :
REUNION OF THE TWEED FAMILY.
At a recent meeting of a few representatives of the
Tweed family, it was decided to make arrangements for a
family gathering and basket picnic, to be held during the
summer of 1887. The undersigned, appointed for that
purpose, take pleasure in announcing that they have secured
the grounds at
FOSTER'S POND, ANDOVER, MASS.,
Near the Wilmington line, for
Friday, the 17th Day of June,
(or Saturday, the 18th, should the 17th prove stormy) and
cordially invite you and your family to be present.
It is hoped, through a general response, that this reunion
may be made an occasion of special interest to every mem-
ber of this family, and also afford an opportunity of renew-
ing old-time friendships and acquaintances.
THOS. H. JONES,
GILMAN HARNDEN, j. Committee.
T. GL TWEED,
The arrangements for this gathering were made by the
foregoing committee of invitation, under the immediate
direction and supervision of Thomas H. Jones, chairman,
— a grandson of James Tweed, — who infused great spirit
into the affair, through his well known business energy and
ability. To him, therefore, it is but an act of justice to
record, are the descendants of the Tweed family mainly in-
debted for a movement which it is hoped may prove to be
the initiative of many other equally interesting gatherings,
so beautiful iu themselves, and which afford so much oppor-
tunity for the enjoyment of that which cannot fail to pro-
mote one common interest.
The day upon which this reunion was held proved to be in
every way propitious. The sky was clear, a gentle June
breeze pervaded the atmosphere, the shade trees at the
point, on Foster's pond, were a charming protection from
a scorching sun, and each individual, old and young, seemed
inspired with the desire to make every one else happy. The
time was passed in rowing, fishing, social intercourse, and
singing, for which latter entertainment ample preparation
was made. It is almost needless to add that the entire
Tweed family are distinguished for their musical tastes
and abilities, and many of them are noted for their profes-
sional excellence, both in vocal. and instrumental music.
At noon a bountiful Collation was provided, through the
generous contributions made by the whole company, each
particular "basket " being laden with most tempting edibles.
Indeed, it was difficult to determine whether the food itself
or the" sub-committee of ladies who had arranged all with
such exquisite taste, was entitled to the greater considera-
tion. However that may have been, the former, at the
moment, appealed by far the most powerfully to the appe-
tite, while the latter had the unalloyed satisfaction of
acknowledging the truth of the old adage that "Actions
speak louder than words."
At the conclusion of the repast, Mr. Jones expressed the
wish that a complete list of the names of all present be
made, and a committee was appointed to attend to that duty.
(The names are given on a subsequent page.)
Mr. Jones then stated that, in view of what had been
accomplished at this time in bringing the Tweed family
together, it would also seem desirable to place upon record
any historical facts or reminiscences relating to the Tweed
family, about which little was known, except by the very
few immediate descendants now living. He then informed
the company that Mr. Benj. Walker, of Lowell, had prepared
a short sketch of the early life of Grandfather and Grand-
mother Tweed, including his personal recollections of those
worthies, to which he would invite the attention of the
In response, Mr. Walker read the following paper :
Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen:
Who of us has not looked forward to this
gathering of the Tweed family with pleasurable
emotions? Nearly every member of each branch
of this family is present.
Anticipating that such would be the fact, the
thought has occurred to me that a brief sketch
of our worthy ancestors would not only be re-
garded with interest, but serve, in a measure, to
perpetuate the names and memories of those
for whom we all cherish so much affection.
Perhaps it may also give the rising generation
something, in a semi-historical way, that will not
be easily forgotten.
With these ideas and these reflections, I have
collated such facts and incidents as my some-
what limited resources have afforded, and, with
your permission, will now submit the same for
Although, so far as I have been able to learn,
this branch of our ancestors made no claim to a
strictly English lineage, they were, as certainly
the oldest of us know, most excellent and exem-
plary specimens of good, old-fashioned New
England people. Pure and simple in their hab-
its, firm and zealous in their religious notions,
rigid in their ideas of living up to the golden
rule, and looking upon that station in life in
which it pleased God to place them as the one
in which they were best fitted to serve Him,
this eminently worthy couple, although without
assuming any unusual degree of mental culture,
were happy in themselves, happy in their fam-
ilies, and lived to a ripe old age. They died as
they had lived, in the hope of a full fruition of
the joys which they believed await those who
walk humbly, and follow faithfully those pre-
cepts which are recognized as the true attributes
which lead to immortal life.
James Tweed, son of James Tweed, was born
in Burlington, Mass., on the 19th of May, 177 1,
and passed the earliest years of his life on a
farm in that place, presumably receiving only
the limited education which the district schools
of those days afforded. When quite a lad,
James left the paternal roof, doubtless to seek
his fortune, and strayed away, not into the wilds
of the far west, but into the adjoining town of
Wilmington, a place much more vivid in my
early mind for the recollections of its hop-fields
than for its commercial industries, and, as the
saying then was, James "went out to work."
His first engagement was with Major Jaquith,
on what was later and perhaps is now known as
the Sewall Buck Farm.
How easy it is to picture this young man, full
of courage and hope, and perhaps looking for-
ward with ambition to the grand rounding up of
his manhood, at the rate of "ten dollars a month
and found;" building castles of future wealth,
and of the time when he, too, would be possessed
of that goodly heritage of those days — a farm
and a family of his own. How well his hopes
were realized will be presently seen, for when
yet quite a young man he purchased the old
"Tweed homestead," as some of us remember it,
although now, as it has been for years, the prop-
erty of that estimable gentleman, Levi Manning.
While James was pursuing his vocation as a
farmer, in the employ of Major Jaquith, there
came into the family, by one of those happy
coincidences peculiar to New England life, a
sprightly young miss, who had been engaged
through friends of the family to take the posi-
tion of house-girl or domestic in Mr. Jaquith's
family. Her name was Sally Gibson, and the
place of her nativity was Lunenburg, Mass.
While James, therefore, was pursuing his avoca-
tion on the farm, Sally, no doubt, was equally
active in her household duties and, as we can
easily imagine, in bearing the burdens which
devolved both upon the male and female mem-
bers of the household. Who of us cannot real-
ize the feelings of excitement which may have
pervaded these young hearts, which beat in
sympathy, even in a cow-yard when the milking
time arrived, and who has not seen a stream of
the lacteal fluid aimed squarely at the head of a
near friend, to call attention to the fact that there
was not only milk in the flowing pail, but also
the "milk of human kindness" running to over-
flowing in the hearts of these young people?
Imagine this young Lothario seated on a three-
legged milking-stool, and Sally hiding her
blushes beneath the ample folds of an old-fash-
ioned yet immaculate sugar scooped sun bonnet
— one of the feminine "field pieces" of those
days — and how easily do we see the budding
of "Love's young dream," which so naturally
ripened into a true and lasting affection.
At any rate, it was on this farm of which we
speak that the alliance was formed between
James Tweed and Sally Gibson, and which
finally culminated in their marriage in the year
Notwithstanding that Sally Gibson proved to
be the blushing bride, my story would not be
quite complete, did I not record the fact that
James was previously engaged to a young lady
by the name of Abigail Carter, who died, how-
ever, during the days of her betrothal, and for
whom an affectionate remembrance was main-
tained in naming my mother for her.
About the time of the marriage of James
Tweed and Sally Gibson, James purchased the
homestead in Wilmington, to which I have
already alluded, and which was also known as
"Nod," into which he took his wife, and here
was the commencement and germ of that ances-
tral tree of which we are all the branches.
Here were born to this worthy couple, in natural
and rapid succession, Sally (Buck), James, Nan-
cy (Harnden), Abigail (Walker), Samuel, Tim-
othy Gibson, Mary (Jones), Charles, and Em-
mons. Of these nine children, two only are
living, Mary and Charles, the former of whom
The changes which more than three quarters
of a century inevitably bring are many, yet this
family was remarkable for the longevity of its
members. Not one child died in infancy, which
amply illustrates the fact that the utmost care
and most watchful oversight of the tenderest of
mothers was ever employed in rearing the little
ones, who could and did, one and all, "rise up
and call her blessed."
Although younger, of course, than any of this
family of whom I write, my own recollections
of and experiences with them date back consid-
erably more than half a century. Nothing
could exceed the happiness of the days of my
childhood when permitted to visit Grandfather
and Grandmother Tweed. The cordial greeting,
the affectionate embrace, the earnest solicitude
to anticipate every childish want, made an im-
pression never to be effaced, and, I venture to
say, never to be forgotten by any of us who
have enjoyed these experiences.
It may be egotistical in me to mention the
following, but I really believe I was somewhat
of a favorite with these good people, and per-
haps may be pardoned, therefore, in repeating
the words which once came to me from Grand-
mother Tweed, through my dear old mother, —
"Benny always was a proper good boy. HE
never sarsed his grandma'am." The compliment
to me was great, but the reflection upon some of
those who hear me is absolutely appalling.
I may here record that while Grandfather
Tweed was the quintessence of good nature and
almost the incarnation of all those qualities
which go to make a man universally beloved,
always, as he did, having the greatest consider-
ation for the rights and feelings of others, your
grandmother was full of that fire and vigor
which left no uncertainty in regard to the fact
that her word was law, and, although small in
stature, she wielded great domestic power. A
happy union of these characteristics, so strong
in contrast, yet so harmoniously blended in "our
uncles and our aunts," will account for the
excellent dispositions which are so prevalent
everywhere among our relations, and make us
all feel that "it is good to be here" on this
As I write these lines I recall and can vividly
see the various members of this family in their
routine work on the farm. Hay-fields, corn-
fields, and hop-yards all loom up before me; and
the sound of the horn for dinner still dwells
musically on my ear. I can see these uncles
coming home in their shirt sleeves, each stop-
ping at the well with its sparkling water and its
creaking "sweep," just opposite the front door
of the old house, and each by turns washing
his hands and face in the " piggin?" which
was kept sacred for this purpose, and subse-
quently all sitting down and enjoying the tempt-
ing meal which dainty and loving hands had
provided. Thus passed the days and seasons,
and here for thirty-three years did this worthy
and happy family dwell. In the mean time, of
course, the sons and daughters married and
moved, one by one, to other spheres of labor,
although none of them immediately went very
far away. After a short residence in Wilming-
ton, Aunt Sally Buck removed to Stoneham,
where nearly all her descendants always have
lived and still reside; James settled in Wo-
burn; Nancy Harnden in Wilmington, where
she remained all her life, dying only two
years ago; Abigail Walker moved to Reading
and afterwards to Lowell; Samuel went to
Providence; Timothy Gibson to Lowell; Mary
Jones to Lancaster; Charles to Woburn; and
Emmons to Lowell, where he resided many
years, although later he removed to Indianapolis,
Ind., where he died in 1858.
The first death in this family was that of
Abigail Walker, which took place on the 28th
of March, 1855, she having then reached the age
of 51 years. To say that she was a lady of
great natural refinement, of a most genial dispo-
sition, and possessed of a character that com-
manded the admiration and respect of all, is but
slightly to portray her many virtues.
"None knew her but to love her,
None named her but to praise."
In the natural course of events, Great-grand-
mother Gibson, a second wife and the step-
mother of Grandmother Tweed, was taken away
by death. This, with other changes and circum-
stances, necessitated the removal of Grandfather
and Grandmother Tweed to Lunenburg, to take
the care of her father, Timothy Gibson, and also
of his son, Uncle Ben. The father had been a
man of unusual activity and force, but was then
quite aged and infirm. The son, "Uncle Ben,"
was a character, and always walked to church,
some three miles, never deigning to ride.
Although tradition would seem to imply that he
was mentally peculiar, not to say erratic, still he
was a man of no little originality, and whom, by
the way, I am said to resemble not only in name
but especially (as you who remember him may
easily imagine) in literary and educational
tastes, (?) if not in the still higher range of cob-
bling, chewing tobacco, and drinking hard cider.
Here Grandfather and Grandmother Tweed
continued to carry on the farm, and here also
proved to be for many years the headquarters
for the children and grandchildren of this worth} 7
couple. Here also were family scenes, equally
vivid with those of Wilmington and much more
recent; and here also were further days of hap-
piness and comfort for the entire Tweed family.
It would be a pleasant task to recount the
many incidents of their not altogether unevent-
fill life in Lunenburg, of no special account
however at the time, but now full of interest,
and to trace the progress of Grandfather and
Grandmother Tweed through the years they
resided in this place, but I must pass on.
In the natural course of events, it being on
the 14th of September, 1832, Great-grandfather
Timothy Gibson was gathered to his fathers,
leaving Grandfather and Grandmother Tweed,
and Uncle Ben, the only occupants of the Lunen-
burg premises. Here they continued to reside,
Grandfather Tweed occasionally "going below"
and driving the old cream colored nag, the
ugliest and most treacherous, and at the same
time the most valuable, piece of horse-flesh
known in those days, to visit his children and
grandchildren. This was before the days of the
Fitchburg Railroad. It was a happy conceit of
Grandmother Tweed to load the old gentleman
down with a barrel of boiled apple sauce to sell
to the relations. Once he came to Lowell with
an ox-team and a load of charcoal, which in my
early pride I remember to have helped him sell
in the streets of that city at ten cents a basket,
all the time as proud as Julius Caesar, and very
likely with a face as black as Othello's, thinking
of the success of this great commercial transac-
tion. Of course grandfather went home with a
barrel of flour — it cost $5.00 in those days —
and such other luxuries as the city afforded.
The delight of his return was only equaled by
the change in diet which followed.
This leads me to pay a passing tribute to our
good old grandmother's cooking. It was in the
days of open fire-places, when the long black
crane was a Fixture therein, and the teakettle
hanging gracefully from one of the many hooks
of various lengths, would simmer, and sing, and
steam — what a bright old fellow Robert Fulton
was to run a steamboat up the Hudson on the
idea here suggested — and a huge brick oven
was built in at the side, which would now look,
in comparison with a modern range, like the
Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. This oven in
operation was a spectacle at once imposing and
grand. Wood enough to have supplied the fu-
neral pile of John Rogers, when he was burned
at the stake, was crammed into it, creating a
roar and crackling such as can be imagined at
the burning of Rome. The bricks were heated
to their utmost capacity, after which the remain-
ing embers were raked into the fire-place, and the
oven cleansed by the process of using a damp
cloth attached to a long stick. A huge wooden
bowl filled with dough was placed in a chair at
the mouth of the oven, when your grandmother
armed with a gigantic wooden spoon, and, fired
with a zeal which lent an unerring aim, landed
little knots of this mixture all over the oven,
and in as brief a time as it takes to give this
description, there were ready and fished out,
such rye drop-cakes as only a grandmother and
a brick oven can produce. Their shapes were
as varied as they were numerous, and the brown
crisp edges were as picturesque and irregular as
a range of the Rocky Mountains. No pen can
do justice to their excellence as a breakfast cake,
and no poet could adequately sing their praises
when, sliced and dipped in the richest of cream,
they appeared as toast at the evening meal. In
those days "old rye" caused no prohibitory leg-
islation, andfto "license" to make rye drop- cakes
was needed, except in the matter of temperance
in the quantity to be eaten. I might multiply il-
lustrations of this good old lady's culinary ability,
yet she persisted, in the latter days of her house-
keeping, in saying that she had entirely "lost her
faculty for cooking." I might also have added,
in the proper place, that at each succeeding trip
"down below," recently alluded to, your grand-
father insisted, probably as a reason for us to
buy, that "your grandma'am had got about done
making apple sarce."
This family lived on, in the usual way, for
several years, or until 1850, when Grandfather
Tweed was taken suddenly ill, one night, and
died. In due course of time Uncle Ben also
departed this life. This left Grandmother Tweed
alone, and after matters w 7 ere finally adjusted,
the farm passed into other hands. Grandmother
Tweed removed to Lowell, and lived with her
daughter "Nabby," my mother, until the death
of the latter in 1855.
At this time grandmother removed to Stone-
ham, where she entered the family of Aunt Sally
Buck, and here completed her long and useful
life. She died in the year 186 1, and her re-
mains, with those of her husband, repose in the
cemetery at Lunenburg, Mass.
In view of what I have written, and with a
sincere desire to do honor to the dead, this re-
union has also been arranged in the hope that it
may afford some gratification to the living.
From a comparatively humble, yet most worthy
source, stand before me, in goodly numbers, four
generations of relations. Among these are gen-
tlemen representing various branches of business
nearly all of which are the growth of the pro-
gressive age in which we live. All of us,
without exception, so far as I know, are respecta-
ble and hold honorable positions in the commu-
nities where we reside, and if none of us are
fabulously wealthy, I believe we all have quite
the equivalent, for the bible says, "A good name
is better than great riches."
We are here today to renew friendships and
acquaintances, as many of us, in pursuing our
vocations in life, seldom meet, and to assure each
other of our mutual friendly regard and person-
Who has not felt the thrill which the fact of
meeting a blood relation affords, and the inspi-
ration which grows out of the knowledge that we
as relatives have a claim upon, and, so to speak,
a right to each other? So far as I know, this sen-
timent is universal among us. At any rate, my
ideas of good feeling, good fellowship, good na-
ture, good citizenship, and downright good peo-
ple, are thoroughly exemplified in this family, of
which I am proud to be a member, and my ear-
nest desire, in bringing this desultory sketch to a
close, is that we may cherish and cultivate those
feelings and interests which just such gatherings
as these cannot fail to inspire, and that we may
live our lives in full harmony and sympathy
with each other, leaving all at last, in the belief
that whatever others may say of us, our kindred
have always proved to be our steadfast and abid-
ing friends. Many of us, indeed, have inherited
other cognomens than that of this honored
"Just as a Scotchman vaunts his plaid,
Where'er his wandering steps may lead,
Boasts of his clanship, feels his blood
Warm at the thought and quicker speed,
So here are we, of various names,
Who each his right of kinship claims,
And boasts, with pride, his bit of Tweed."
Timothy G. Tweed,
George W. Tweed,
Henry Tweed, .
Edwin Harnden, .
Molly E. Harnden, .
Martha Harnden, .
Daniel B. Harnden, .
Sarah K. Harnden,
Mabel F. Harnden,
Henry Perley Harnden,
Alice M. Harnden, .
Althea M. Harnden,
Florence E. Harnden,
Harry Foster Harnden,
John W. Harnden, .
Emma A. Harnden,
Arthur W. Harnden,
Ida A. Harnden, .
Clarence T. Abbott,
Elizabeth Jenkins, .
J. W. Jenkins,
Charles W. Jenkins,
Martha Jenkins, .
Ethel M. Jenkins, .
Lizzie M. Jenkins,
George Dane, .
Mattie Dane, .
Thomas H. Jones,
Carrie Emerson Jones,
Benj. Walker Jones,
Lydia A. Jones, .
Addie E. Jones,
John F. Jones,
Frances L. Jones,
Belle F. Jones,
George Jones, .
Charles Buck, .
C. F. Buck,
Sophia C. Buck, .
Hattie J. Buck,
Joseph H. Buck, .
Mabel F. Buck,
Willie A. Buck, .
Grace T. Buck,
John C. Buck,
Emma J. Buck,
John E. Buck,
Mary Jane Green,
George N. Green,
Willie C. Green,
Walter T. Green, .
A. M. Latham,
Esther J. Latham,
Harry M. Latham, .
Abby Robinson, .
Abby Maria Robinson,
Carrie Hayward Robinson,
Benj. Walker, . .
Mary E. Walker, .
Mary C. Walker,
Walter Allen Smith,
Abby W. Bancroft,
C. W. Pitman,
Emma G-. Pitman,
Mary C. Merriam,
Florence C. Merriam,
Frank A. Merriam, .
Grace H. Merriam,
D. Howard Robbins,
Nancy Ethel Lewis,
William H. Carter,
Judith D. Carter,
Maria W. Carter, .
Ada M. Carter,
Ellen Wheelock, .
Rebecca L. Blanchard,
Harry Blanchard, .
Harriot G. Ames, .
Allie G. Ames,
Henry N. Ames, .
Juliet S. Gowing,
Minnie C. Go wing, .
George Marden, .
Harriet Buck, .
Nathan J. Shattuck,
Hattie M. Shattuck,
Wallace G. Shattuck,
. Auburn, Maine.
Josie C. Hill, .
William F. Holt,
Vasti B. Holt, .
Kittie M. Gove,
(Sept., 1886, 20,000)
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